THE TOWN OF MARANA has been the major farming and ranching area for Tucson for hundreds of years. It still has a lot of farmland, ranches and open space, but now Marana is becoming known for its specialty agriculture, which supplies local restaurants and craft breweries with high-end ingredients. If you drink craft beer made in Tucson, it’s likely you are drinking Marana-grown white Sonoran wheat – a 400-year-old variety of wheat that has recently been revived. If you drink Whisky Del Bac, you are drinking barley grown in Marana. When you have a salad at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain restaurants, the greens are from a specialty grower in Marana.
Because Marana is a growing community with a reputation for top notch farming and beautiful scenery, it is attracting people who want to develop new unique craft breweries and restaurants, and many of the restaurants there serve local craft beer. Quite a few popular restaurants in Tucson have opened second locations here.
The one-year-old Tucson Premium Outlets has quickly become a popular shopping destination with visitors from all over the world, and Marana’s surrounding restaurants are waiting to be discovered. The Tucson Premium Outlets is actually located in the middle of the Town of Marana.
Gastropubs and Fine Dining
The Dove Mountain neighborhood is about five minutes away from the Tucson Premium Outlets and has upscale dining as well as upscale family-friendly options.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is the most highly-rated resort hotel in the state and offers a range of dining choices that are unparalleled in Southern Arizona. Even though it is a five star-rated resort, you do not need to be a guest to dine at any of the Ritz-Carlton’s three main restaurants.
Each of the Ritz-Carlton’s restaurants follows French haute cuisine standards and uses the freshest available seasonal and local ingredients.
Cayton’s Burger Bistro, at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain adjoining the Ritz-Carlton, is an American- style gastropub famous for its gourmet burgers and milkshakes, and features local ingredients. If you are looking for family-friendly or casual elegance and incredible food, this is the place – and its cuisine and dining experience are presented by the Ritz- Carlton, Dove Mountain.
Ignite is the Ritz-Carlton’s cozy and romantic gastropub lounge. It has an interesting menu, small plates, and features sushi every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. In addition to its signature cocktails, it also has locally made craft beer on tap.
CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar is the Ritz-Carlton’s elegant contemporary dining room and features the finest cooking and ambience you can find in Arizona. The menu changes, offering inspired seasonal experiences of classic cuisine.
If you are looking for a contemporary Italian restaurant and wine bar, Vero Amore features upscale Neapolitan food including authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, seafood and meaty pasta dishes, along with extensive wine and cocktail selections.
Dove Mountain Brewing Co. has well-crafted casual pub fare with an emphasis on local flavors, paninis, sandwiches and sides that pair nicely with beer, such as freshly baked thick pretzels served with special mustards.
Li’l Abners Steakhouse is a vintage, one-of-a-kind place dripping with atmosphere as an authentic cowboy and Hollywood hangout from the 1940s, when Marana was the center of dude ranching and filming cowboy movies.
It serves mesquite grilled “cowboy style” steak and ribs, cooked over an outdoor open flame, accompanied by salad, ranch-style beans and Texas toast. The rustic atmosphere, with walls and ceiling loaded with memorabilia, tells of the many movie stars, rodeo stars and Western music stars who once passed through.
Craft Brewing, Southwest Style
Catalina Brewing Co. is Marana’s first operating craft brewery and its creative brewmaster, Hank Rowe, showcases Marana-grown ingredients such as mesquite flour in its Mesquite Agave Ale and Twin Pole Mesquite Porter, as well as prickly pear fruit in the La Rosa Cream Ale, which carries the rosy color of the Catalina Mountains at sunset. Pecans grown in the Santa Cruz River Valley are showcased in its Pecan Doppelbock.
Catalina Brewing Co. has about 10 signature beers covering a range of tastes: from the Cañada del Oro Blonde Ale to the new Raspberry Chocolate Imperial Stout – as dark and rich as they come. The restaurant’s beer has very layered and wonderful flavors that you will not find anywhere else. The Mesquite Agave Ale is a must to try because it celebrates and elevates the flavors of the Sonora. But why limit yourself ? I recommend tasting each one, because each beer is delicious and unique. Catalina Brewing Co. is tucked away off Ina Road in a small industrial neighborhood that is worth finding. The brewery has a cafe atmosphere. It is a very welcoming and family-friendly place. There are also two Spanish speakers on staff.
Dove Mountain Brewing Co. features dozens of craft beers on tap from breweries all over Tucson and Marana, including Barrio Brewing Co., Borderlands Brewing Co., Catalina Brewing Co., Dragoon Brewing Company, Sentinel Peak Brewing Company, Ten Fifty-Five Brewing, 1912 Brewing Co. and others.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain has its own signature beer – Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain IPA, made by
Barrio brewery in Tucson. This special beer is a blend between the Barrio Blanco IPA and the Barrio Grapefruit IPA. The Blanco has a malty understructure and is fermented with hops, providing a crisp but hoppy flavor. The Grapefruit IPA has grapefruit juice added to give it a complex but refreshing flavor. The two blended together create a refreshing flavor and an amazing citrus finish.
We are expecting new craft breweries to open in 2017, including one being launched by a brewmaster for one of the best- known breweries in Tucson.
Where to find:
Dove Mountain area
Dove Mountain Brewing Co.
12130 N. Dove Mountain Blvd Marana, AZ 85658 11am-10pm Mon-Sat 10:30am-10pm Sun 520-579-8999 dovemountainbrew.com Casual gastropub featuring local craft beers. Casual and family-friendly.
Vero Amore Authentic Neapolitan Pizza
12130 N Dove Mtn Blvd #104 Marana, AZ 85658
11am-9pm Mon-Thurs, Sun 11am-10pm Fri, Sat
Upscale casual Neapolitan Italian cuisine and wine bar, no kids menu, extensive wine selection, cocktails.
Dove Mountain Dining
15000 North Secret Springs Dr Marana, AZ 85658
520-572-3000 www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/ arizona/dove-mountain/dining
Cayton’s Burger Bistro family-friendly with gorgeous views, unmatched food, upscale resort casual.
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain
Lunch: 11am-4pm, 7 days a week Dinner: 5pm-8:30pm, Wed-Sat
Ignite upscale gastropub/bar with sushi Thurs, Fri, Sat 11am - close: 7 days a week
CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar
Breakfast: 7 days a week Dinner: 5:30pm-9pm, 7 days a week
Wine Experience 5-6pm, every Fri
the finest contemporary dining in Southern Arizona, featuring regional and Marana-sourced ingredients with a seasonal menu. Upscale resort casual. Reservations are recommended.
Li’l Abner’s Steakhouse
8501 N Silverbell Rd
Tucson, AZ 85743 520-744-2800
Authentic rustic cowboy steakhouse and Old Hollywood hangout, kids menu, full bar.
Ina Road/Thornydale Road area:
Catalina Brewing Co.
6918 N Camino Martin #120, 85741 520-329-3622 www.catalinabrewingco.com
Wed & Thur: 4-9pm; Friday: 4-10pm; Sat: 12-10pm;
Sunday: 11am-5pm; Mon-Tue: Closed
Innovative craft beer made with locally-sourced ingredients, very casual, family-friendly environment, games, occasional food trucks.